Peculiar winter habits of people with no heat upstairs
Snow falling between my home and the 1890s-era schoolhouse on my property

Peculiar winter habits of people with no heat upstairs

Winter has arrived in Kansas with a vengeance. Almost overnight we went from 70 degrees and sunny to 15 with a wind chill of -5. And since it’s Kansas, of course there’s wind. One night we had 40 mph winds sustained with gusts up to 60 mph.

Fall hung around for a little while, which was nice. And it was unusually warm for its duration. But we’re pretty sure it’s not coming back, and most of the state is settling in for the long haul at this point.

Snowfall two years ago

Yes, indeed. You know it’s winter when 40 degrees looks like a heat wave.

The weather people have been forecasting epic snow this year, which could be exciting. So Mom and Dad and I are trying to prepare ahead of time in case we end up with two feet of snow…. again.

The snow is troublesome, yes, but it’s really the bitter cold that causes more issues than anything else. When it gets to be 5 below without the wind chill, that’s when you start worrying about the plumbing. And that’s also when I give up on sleeping upstairs.

Why does it matter?

My 100-year-old farmhouse still has no heating or air conditioning upstairs. I’ve figured out that there’s usually a 20 degree difference between the outside air and the upstairs air. Now I love to be cold when I’m sleeping, but -5 outside (meaning 15 inside) is just too much for me. That’s where I draw the line.

But any warmer than that, and I’m good. I sleep great at 40, 30, or even 20. Below 20 I have to throw in the towel and trade my epic electric blanket for a bed in the basement.

The layers on my bed… count em …. six

The layers on my bed are as follows:

  • The top sheet (not flannel because the static turns my hair into snakes that try to strangle me)
  • My epic electric blanket (20+ years old and hotter than the hot place)
  • An old beige colored fleece blanket
  • The old quilt my Great Aunt Greta made out of polyester patches (weighs 30 pounds)
  • A small quilt a family friend made for me when I graduated from high school
  • My TARDIS fleece (because I can)

Then, I usually wear long pajama pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a sweatshirt to bed, along with a set of heavy duty fleece socks.

And believe it or not, I’m totally warm and toasty…. until I have to get up.

There’s nothing more amazing than stepping down on the old wooden floors upstairs and watching the wood condensate around your socks. Or pulling the blankets down and puffing out a big breath of air you can see.

Granted, it is somewhat inconvenient. But that’s the best sleeping weather in the world.

As evidenced by Thursday morning this week, when I curled up all snug and warm in my multilayered bed and slept solid. I only woke up once—too hot—and had to shed a layer or two. (My electric blanket is epic. Have I mentioned that?) And then, I woke up when my cell phone started buzzing.

I’m not a morning person. I’m like the exact opposite of a morning person. So I have my alarm on my phone set really loud. But the alarm wasn’t going off. The phone was ringing. Because it was 7:05 a.m.

I’m supposed to leave for work at 7:00 on the dot.

phone-in-ice-posterYeah. My phone froze up, and the alarm didn’t go off. And the backup alarm. And I’m so thankful that Mom and Dad are living with me now because I wouldn’t have made it out the door without them. It was Mom who called me on my phone from downstairs, because they couldn’t figure out where I was. They thought I’d left without saying goodbye. Then Dad hollered up the stairwell just as I vaulted out of bed and scrambled to get dressed. Mom packed my lunch and made me coffee for the road, and I managed to get out the door by 7:20 a.m.

So what did I learn?

1115140648a1. Don’t trust the phone. Poor thing is so full of photos and music, it probably doesn’t know what to do with itself. And it gets to sit on the dresser…so it was probably frozen stiff, which is why it didn’t play the alarm as loud as it should have.

2. Set a backup alarm. I have an ancient clock/radio. It will now be set to start playing country music as loud as possible at 5:45 a.m.

3. Turn the EPIC electric blanket down and remove some layers. Being so comfortable on a weekday so that I sleep that well probably isn’t healthy for my career. 😉

Anyone else out there have an old house without heating upstairs? Have you got funny stories about freezing your buns off when you’re inside your house? Feel free to share. I’ve got plenty, so you’re not alone.

A.C. Williams

Amy Williams left a lucrative career in marketing to write novels about space cowboys, clumsy church secretaries, American samurai, and alternate dimensions. Along the way, she also discovered a passion for teaching other creative professionals how to use technology to make life easier. Through video instruction or one-on-one coaching, she teaches software, blogging, basic graphic design, and many other useful skills that help creative entrepreneurs get stuff done minus the frustration.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Haha! Your article might seem a little exaggerated to those who have never lived in an old, cold, wonderful farmhouse in the mid-west!

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